Masturbation Addiction – Treatment, Symptoms and Causes
By Dr. Ajay Kumar (Ayurveda)
What is Masturbation Addiction?
Ah! Alone in the room, cut off from the social domain and your friend circle in that moment of lustful privacy, you give in to your sensual desires, that too in the most unimaginative of ways. Yup! We are talking about the addictive habit of masturbation. Masturbation (or the slang – ‘fap’) isn’t exactly the most commonly or openly discussed topic out there, rather it has transcended into becoming yet another taboo (Haww! Why are they speaking like this? :O ) in an already stigma struck society of ours! Thus, what starts as an occasional indulgence for self pleasure at leisure at an impressionable adolescent stage, owing to lack of proper, healthy conversations and guidance ends up as a self loathing, frequent habit! Although it might not seem like it, but this habit does tend to escalate to dangerous levels, wherein you deprive yourself off the true pleasures and indulgences that are actually going on in that outer world, and deem yourself to a doom of loneliness, lust and disgust!
Causes of Masturbation Addiction.
Simply put – It’s all in the mind! Masturbation promotes the release of certain hormones which naturally provide sexual gratification and a sense of satisfaction. Now, this gets addictive because people either find pornography so appealing that they neglect the real life indulgences, or they take masturbation and the associated (false) gratification and satisfaction as an alternative to depression, lack of normal sexual activity, or an escape from their mental and social pressures.
Some people might require lower level of hormones for their sexual gratification, and thus they find the activity of masturbation more comforting. Thus, in this self woven paradise of lustful imaginations and self loathing satiations, they find temporary solace in the domain of their very limited and trivial existence, leaving out real world worries and joys!
What is the symptoms of Masturbation Addiction?
Well, that’s not difficult to figure out. If, you get sudden urges to fap at awkward moments of loneliness; if you are tempted to play with your genitals in those blissful quiet nights, and if you cannot control these but are controlled by these sudden rushes, that’s when addiction has chipped in!
Although, it’s said that masturbation can help calm down the occasional sexual energy rush or help individuals easily identify their sexual orientations, yet, none of these justifies an addict’s behavior.
Treatment of Masturbation Addiction.
Like all addictions and habits, this one has impacts and side effects as well. Scores of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals are drained down the drains or wrapped up in tissues to be disposed off. Your immunity power takes a strong blow and you are left a bit weaker apart from (in some cases) the regret faced later on.
So, prevention is always better than cure –
Quite a few people, who have joined the ‘No Fap’ online community and committed themselves to not indulging in ‘self pleasure’ have reported increased levels of focus, increased stamina, higher confidence levels, and even easier access to sex! If you are currently fap-free, remember this is what you have, and don’t lower your quality of life!
Don’t indulge in the random enjoyment of deriving pleasure through imaginations and other peoples’ indulgences. Be with your true self.
Prevention to avoid Masturbation Addiction.
People addicted to and engaging in excessive masturbation cite a temporary refuge from everyday feelings and worries whilst indulging in the act. However, a positive and healthier approach to the same can help anyone overcome the urges, gradually lowering them to a level wherein they don’t affect, or at least control you anymore! The following life hacks might be tried :
Avoid Pornography: No matter how much you wish to indulge or derive pleasure from some random people and their acts, try to fight the temptation. Stay strong!
Avoid Solitude: Most of these indulgences occur when you are alone in the safety of solitude, whilst no one is there to judge you or make the whole scene awkward. So a simple hack – avoid solitude, for as long as you continue to be in your presence alone, you will feel tempted to just go through it once more; and one of these fine days, you might succumb to it as well!
Pick up a hobby: Whenever your mind takes you back on this track, pick up a hobby to indulge in, divert your attention, thoughts and mind to healthier and ‘real’ly fascinating activites.
Feel and indulge in the brilliance of being ‘Fap free’: You have already learnt how members of the No Fap community described their experience as life changing. Let yourself feel and enjoy an elated and better life experience as well.
Withdrawal symptoms of Masturbation Addiction.
As you commit yourself to being a ‘No Fap’ person, you might witness some withdrawal symptoms. Other than bursts of increased urges and temptations to give in, sudden and awkward erections can become quite frequent for some time, and you might witness a few ‘Night Discharges’ (referred to as ‘night fall’ in slang). However, staying true to your motives, and dedicated to a better, healthier and an awesome life, will gradually help eradicate all these symptoms, and you’ll get addicted once again, to living life to its full, in manners that are not marked by lust or disgust!
5 Biblical Ways to Overcome Masturbation
Perhaps you are someone who struggles with masturbation. Or perhaps you have no clue why this is a temptation for people but would like to be someone others can confide in and get advice from. Either way, here are five practical pointers that will help Christians overcome the sin of masturbation.
- Realize the Bible Actually Does Condemn Masturbation
You’ve probably heard that the word “masturbation” is found nowhere in Scripture, which is absolutely true. Therefore when most people explain why masturbation is a sin, they focus on the lustful thoughts and intentions that are almost always associated with self-pleasure.
But just because the Bible does not directly condemn masturbation does not mean it has not been forbidden indirectly. Oftentimes authors in the Bible speak in categories rather than in specifics. So rather than listing every possible sexual act that could be sinful, the Bible gives us general boundaries in which we are to remain.
To the married 1 Corinthians 7:5 states, “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” To the single 1 Corinthians 7:9 explains, “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
These two verses give us one sexual category for both the married and the single that encompasses all condoned sexual acts: All sexual activity must include the physical presence of your spouse.
Masturbation is indirectly condemned through what is expressly condoned. Notice Paul says that if you are married and perform a sexual act away from your spouse, you have fallen to Satan’s temptation because of your lack of self-control. If you are single and perform any sexual act (because you don’t have a spouse), here again Paul says you are showing that you cannot control yourself because you are indulging in sexual activity meant for marriage alone.
Since masturbation is done away from your spouse, the Bible categorizes it as sin. You can’t stop masturbating if you are not convinced it is sinful. Therefore, the first step in stopping this sin is to be firmly convinced that the Bible does condemn this act.
(For a deeper look at what the Bible says about masturbation, read the article, “Does the Bible Say Masturbation Is Sin?)
- Don’t Use Weird Mental Tactics to Justify This Sin
The act of masturbation always starts in the mind. Even if you’ve never heard the biblical logic expressed in point 1, we all know subconsciously masturbation is a sin. To get around this, people often use odd arguments in their heads to justify why they are indulging in self-pleasure.
I’ve talked to single people who have learned how to masturbate while “thinking about nothing,” thus they feel they are not lusting, which in their minds makes self-pleasure okay. I’ve heard of people who justify masturbation by stating it helps them to not commit worse sexual sins like looking at porn or having premarital sex. I know married men who feel that as long as they are thinking about their wife when they masturbate, then it is alright in God’s eyes.
There are countless weird arguments we could try to use to justify masturbation. But in the eyes of God, sin is sin. Keep it simple and just obey at face-value your conscience, the Spirit’s leading, and the Bible’s instructions.
- Look Ahead to the Reward
To overcome any temptation, we need to not only resist evil but also pursue what is good. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
If you are single and desire to overcome masturbation, you have to firmly believe that your self-control and self-sacrifice now will result in greater pleasure in the future. You must learn to not only resist the temptation but to pursue the pleasure that stems from pleasing God. Additionally, masturbation will lessen your delight in sex once you get married. The more you resist sexual temptation now, the greater your sexual experiences with your future spouse will be later. And more than that, the more you resist sin in general, the greater your experience of God will be.
- Don’t Underemphasize the Practical Stuff
Are you more tempted to masturbate late at night? Stop staying up so late. Do R-rated movies plant seeds of sexual sin in you that feed your sinful nature? Stop watching these types of movies. Does going to the beach or the gym cause you to see the opposite sex in scanty clothing? Don’t go to these places anymore.
Identify any triggers and cut them out. Fighting masturbation is a spiritual battle, but don’t underestimate the practical stuff either.
- Remember Who You Are in Christ
The process of sanctification is directly tied to our willingness to embrace the effects the gospel has had on us. When we become a Christian, we are made into a new creation with desires to please God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). We must now spend the rest of our lives learning to embrace our new identify and reject our old nature.
If you want to overcome the temptation to masturbate, you must trust your Bible over your feelings. Preach the truth to yourself, “I’m a new creation in Christ. I don’t want to sin like this. I want to please God now.” The more deeply you believe that you are a new person who craves purity rather than promiscuity, the more your actions will begin to change.
If you are a Christian, you are a new creation. Now you just need to believe it and live from this truth.
The Science Behind Masturbation
You might be wondering why having an orgasm feels so dang great. As a matter of fact, ejaculating after masturbation feels pretty close to the sensation you get during sex. The reason masturbation is so pleasurable is because your brain gives off “happy” chemicals – endorphins and dopamine. Endorphins are feel-good peptide hormones that relieve both pain and stress. On the other hand, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel motivated and concentrated.
These two chemicals are natural and perfectly normal. However, some people become addicted to the secretion of them because of their similarity to opioids. For example, morphine and oxycodone both trigger positive feels like endorphins do. With that said, the release of endorphins through masturbation is not harmful like opioids. But, given the similar effects, it’s easy to see why some people crave masturbation non-stop.
Masturbation Addiction and Compulsive Sexual Behavior
Excessive masturbation is a form of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). Prevalent in both men and women, this condition can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include inability to control sexual urges and guilt after releasing sexual tension. The causes for CSB include hormone imbalances and changes in the brain’s reinforcement centers.
Treating Masturbation Addiction
Fighting a masturbation takes determination and resilience. While there are many DIY approaches, chronic masturbators might need to seek professional help. Some of the more old-fashioned remedies include:
- Working out. Exercising is known to reduce sexual urges and stress at the same time. Similar to masturbation, working out release feel-good endorphins.
- Picking up a hobby. Many people masturbate simply because they’re bored. Take up a new interest and get out of the house.
- Blocking porn sites. Not being able to watch porn can help fight a masturbation addiction. If you can’t get off just using your imagination, you might not feel like masturbating at all.
How Can I Conquer the Habit of Masturbation?
“I began masturbating when I was eight years old. Later I learned God’s view of the matter. I felt terrible every time I gave in. ‘How could God love someone like me?’ I asked myself.”—Luiz.
WHEN you reach puberty, sexual desires can become particularly strong. As a result, you might fall into a habit of masturbation.* Many would say that it’s not a big deal. “No one gets hurt,” they argue. However, there’s good reason to avoid the practice. The apostle Paul wrote: “Deaden, therefore, your body members . . . as respects . . . sexual appetite.” (Colossians 3:5) Masturbation does not deaden sexual appetite but fuels it. In addition, consider the following:
- Masturbation instills attitudes that are totally self-centered. For example, when masturbating, a person is immersed in his or her own body sensations.
- Masturbation causes one to view those of the opposite sex as mere objects, or tools, for self-gratification.
- The selfish thinking that is instilled through the practice of masturbation can make satisfying sexual relations in marriage difficult to achieve.
Rather than resort to masturbation to relieve pent-up sexual urges, strive to cultivate self-control. (1 Thessalonians 4:4, 5) To help you to do that, the Bible recommends that you avoid circumstances that might arouse you sexually in the first place. (Proverbs 5:8, 9) Still, what if you have become enslaved to the habit of masturbation? Perhaps you’ve tried to stop but without success. It would be easy to conclude that you’re a lost cause, that you’re incapable of living up to God’s standards. That’s how a boy named Pedro viewed himself. “When I relapsed, I felt terrible,” he says. “I thought that I could never atone for what I had done. I found it hard to pray.”
If that’s how you feel, take courage. Your case isn’t hopeless. Many young people—and adults—have overcome the habit of masturbation. You can too!
Dealing With Guilt
As already noted, those who have fallen into the habit of masturbation are often plagued with guilt. Without a doubt, being “saddened in a godly way” can give you the incentive to overcome the habit. (2 Corinthians 7:11) But excessive guilt can be counterproductive. It can make you feel so discouraged that you just want to give up the fight.—Proverbs 24:10.
So strive to put the matter in perspective. Masturbation is a form of uncleanness. It can make you a ‘slave to various desires and pleasures,’ and it fosters unhealthy attitudes. (Titus 3:3) At the same time, masturbation is not a form of gross sexual immorality, such as fornication. (Jude 7) If you have a problem with masturbation, you need not conclude that you have committed the unforgivable sin. The key is to resist the urge and never to give up your fight!
It is easy to become downhearted after a relapse. When that occurs, take to heart the words of Proverbs 24:16: “The righteous one may fall even seven times, and he will certainly get up; but the wicked ones will be made to stumble by calamity.” A temporary setback does not make you a wicked person. So do not give up. Instead, analyze what led to the relapse, and try to avoid repeating the same pattern.
Take time to meditate on God’s love and mercy. The psalmist David, who was no stranger to personal weakness, stated: “As a father shows mercy to his sons, Jehovah has shown mercy to those fearing him. For he himself well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13, 14) Yes, Jehovah takes into consideration our imperfection and is “ready to forgive.” (Psalm 86:5) On the other hand, he wants us to put forth effort to improve. So what practical steps can you take to conquer your habit?
Analyze your entertainment. Do you watch movies or TV programs or visit Web sites that are sexually stimulating? The psalmist wisely prayed to God: “Make my eyes pass on from seeing what is worthless.”*—Psalm 119:37.
Force your mind to focus on other matters. A Christian named William advises: “Before going to bed, read something related to spiritual things. It is very important that the last thought of the day be a spiritual one.”—Philippians 4:8.
Talk to someone about the problem. Shame might make it difficult for you to bring up the matter to a confidant. Yet, doing so can help you to overcome the habit! That’s what a Christian named David found. “I talked privately with my father,” he says. “I’ll never forget what he said. With a reassuring smile on his face, he said, ‘You make me so proud of you.’ He knew what I had to go through to get to that point. No words could have lifted my spirits and determination more.
“My father then showed me a few scriptures to help me see that I was not ‘too far gone,’ and then some more scriptures to be sure I understood the seriousness of my wrong course. He said to ‘keep the slate clean’ until a certain time, and we would discuss it again then. He told me not to let it crush me if I relapsed, just go a longer period of time without giving in the next time.” David’s conclusion? He says: “Having someone else aware of my problem and helping me was the greatest benefit.”*
Ref: Watch Tower Bible